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Soups and dumplings

Polish hospitality is warm and generous, summed up by popular saying: "a quest in the house, God in the house."

Polish hospitality is warm and generous, summed up by popular saying: "a quest in the house, God in the house." Breakfast is typically a selection of sliced cured meat, tomatoes and cheese, rye bread and plenty of strong coffee. A late lunch is usually the day's main three-course meal, with a light buffet – style supper typically comprising cold cuts, vegetables such as tomatoes and pickled cucumbers, with rye bread.

Soup is a popular starter. Poland's more than 30 types of mushrooms are put to good use in numerous versions of mushroom soup, while kapuśniak is a hearty winter warmer of boiled cabbage. The most popular soup is barszcz (beetroot soup), served either "clear" or with chopped beetroot and boiled potatoes added. Ukrainian barszcz means extra chopped vegetables including cabbage. Chłodnik is the summer version, served cold garnished with a freshly boiled egg, chopped dill and soured cream, with turns the soup a shade of lilac.

Pierogi are variously translated as dumplings or ravioli, but this makes them sound like a derivative rather than a speciality in their own right. Where they originated is unclear – they may have arrived during the 12th century from Russia or they may already have been original Slavic folk dish. Pierogi are prepared by placing a small amount of stuffing in a circle of dough, which is then folded over the stuffing and sealed with a scalloped edge, making them look rather like large ears. The most popular filling "z serem" ("with cheese"), also known as "ruskie ("Russian"), means a combination of curd cheese, mashed potato and chopped fried onion.

Another popular style "z kapustą" („with cabbage") means either cabbage or sauerkraut (or a combination of both) mixed with chopped sautéed mushrooms; while "z mięsem" ("with meat") is minced beef mixed with breadcrumbs and onion. Buckwheat, a staple of the Slav diet, is the most historic style. Once boiled, the typical garnish is breadcrumps fried in butter. Alternatively, the pierogi can be lightly sautéed to give a crispy texture, and served with soured cream. Sweet pierogi are also served, stuffed with curd cheese mixed with candied zest and rasins, or various fruits such as blueberries, diced apples or thick preserves, which are served with caster sugar and soured cream.

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Polish National Tourist Office
980 N. Michigan Ave, Ste. 1550
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 1 (551) 344-3057
e-mail: info.na@poland.travel